Makgadikgadi Pans N.P.
Makgadikgadi Pans National Park covers about 3,900km2 in a roughly square-shaped block to the west of the pans. It extends from the western edge of Ntwetwe Pan – one corner of which is incorporated within the park, fragmented into a myriad smaller pans – westwards to the Boteti River, which marks the park's western boundary. To the north it meets the southern boundary of Nxai Pan National Park, from which it is separated only by the main Maun-Nata road.
Geography and geology
About one-fifth of the reserve consists of salt pan. The rest is rolling grasslands on Kalahari sands, rising here and there into fossilised dunes and low hills of thicker sand which mark prehistoric limits of the great Makgadikgadi superlake. The great breadth of the sandy Boteti watercourse, and the riverine woodland that lines its steep banks, are evidence of a major river that once carved a channel across central Botswana, carrying the waters of the Okavango into the Makgadikgadi basin.
Today the Boteti only flows at all after good rains, when its thin trickle is dwarfed by the channel that contains it. It hasn't properly flooded for at least ten years. As the dry season advances, this stream dwindles into a chain of rapidly shrinking pools, a few of which retain permanent water throughout the year.